By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov
Roman-style pizza, made with Caputo flour, and baked in 800-degree oven, imported from Italy, gotta be the shortest of all the roads that lead to Rome. This thin-crust artful pie, topped with the freshest farm-to-table ingredients, that might include seasonal truffles, porcinis, or Calabrese peppers, is definitely outstanding, even in gourmet-pizza-heavy Bay Area.
The newly opened BUILD Pizzeria Roma in downtown Berkeley lures in sophisticated pizza lovers with its sleek modern decor, exquisite libations, curated by expert consultants, and an invitation to some creative pizza-building, not usually available to restaurant patrons.
There is a busy Building Department lead by Executive Chef Brian Langevin on the pizzeria side of the restaurant, where anyone can pick and choose among the cheeses, proteins, veggies, and “indulgences” to build their own individual pies. Pizza foundations are provided as rosso (tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, mozzarella, sea salt; bianca (sans tomatoes); pesto (with basil pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano), and gluten-free (with tomato or pesto). Then the fun part begins with choosing toppings, that range from truffle pecorino cheese and prosciutto di Parma to roasted pine nuts and caper barriers.
For the timid, there is an impressive list of house recipes, like Tartufo on bianca foundation with mozzarella, topped with roasted mushrooms, and finished with baby arugula, truffle pecorino, and truffle oil, or Mediterranean on rosso, with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, artichoke hearts, and Italian olives.
On the bar side of the restaurant, bartender Calum Wright mixes mean cocktails that can be served straight up or over single hand-cut slow-melting reusable ice cube.
Here Chef de cuisine Clara Yun creates an enticing menu of bar bites that include seasonal delights like burrata garnished with oven-roasted Roma tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, and crostini, or truffle arancini made of truffle risotto, smoked mozzarella, and house-made tomato sauce.
Chef Yun is also responsible for the scrumptious desserts. Among them budino – a house-made butterscotch, sea-salt and mascarpone cream, and crostata di frutta with seasonal fruit are finger-licking good.
Chef Clara Yun (left) and Lisa Holt (right)
The restaurant’s early success and its growing popularity come as a result of experience, skill, and passion of its founders – Napa Valley hospitality entrepreneurs Lisa Holt and David Shapiro, and the highly talented staff they hired to create a place where dreams and wishes come true. You dream of Roma? Spending an evening here is like being there – the mood is warm, friendly, hospitable, and people who sit at neighboring tables easily engage in conversations. You wish your pizza were a little milder, stronger, heavier or lighter on meat, cheese, or veggies? Having exactly what you wish is in your hands.
Come build your own unforgettable pizza, and then come for more – that’s what all of BUILD Pizzeria Roma’s fast friends are doing.
BUILD Pizzeria Roma is located at 2286 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California. Call for reservations (510) 898-1839 or visit www.BUILDpizzeria.com.